Since the introduction of its Early Severity Predictor model in 2015, Travelers Cos. says it cut the use of opioids by over 500,000 injured employees by 30%.
The model identifies the likelihood that someone will develop chronic pain — a leading cause of opioid dependency. Travelers shares the Early Severity Predictor results with the injured employee’s physician, allowing them to identify effective treatment alternatives such as physical therapy, and in some cases surgery is avoided to help ensure a safe recovery without the prolonged use of opioids.
Drop in cases
Since January 2016, surgeries for Travelers’ workers’ compensation cases have fallen by 25%, and those who received alternative treatment methods recovered and returned to work 10% faster than those who did not.
Related: Non-opioid treatment alternatives
“Surgical procedures used to correct common workplace injuries are oftentimes followed by an opioid prescription for pain,” said Dr. Adam Seidner, global medical director at Travelers, who is also an addiction specialist. “Physical therapy and other treatments limit the employee’s exposure to opioids and often produce better long-term medical outcomes.”
Reduced medical expenses
Travelers has helped employers reduce medical expenses on identified claims by up to 50% since it implemented the Early Severity Predictor model. The company typically handles approximately 250,000 workers’ compensation claims each year.
Travelers also says its in-house pharmacy management program has also contributed to the results. The company’s claim professionals use detailed information gained from training with on-staff pharmacists to assess the merits of requests for pharmaceutical payments and identify the potential for overusing opioids and dangerous drug interactions.
Related: Tackling the opioid epidemic